Lithuanian-Finnish relations date back centuries and have deep traditions. However, over time, they weakened for a variety of reasons. With the establishment of diplomatic relations a hundred years ago and their re-establishment thirty years ago, connections between the two countries have been revived.
After starting my activity as Lithuanian Ambassador to Finland in February 1998, continuing the work of my predecessors, we discussed the main goals and objectives for the coming year together with my colleagues. We singled out several priorities:
First. To continue and strengthen the activities of the Embassy in the development of relations between the two countries in various fields, in particular by expanding economic and cultural ties. To create conditions for both Finnish and Lithuanian people to get to know and understand each other better.
Second. With the Finnish EU Presidency approaching in the second half of 1999, during which a decision was expected to be taken on Lithuania's invitation to start negotiations with the EU, it was important to ensure Finland's support for Lithuania's aspirations. In implementing these main tasks, the staff of the Embassy tried to use all available opportunities. We had an aim to introduce Lithuania, its culture, and economy, with the help of Lithuanian honorary consuls A. Tinnila, M. Elovainis, M. Altonnen, members of the Donelaitis Society and especially its chairman prof. H. Niemi as well as other friends of Lithuania. In 1998, an Agreement on Lithuanian-Finnish co-operation in the fields of culture, education and science was signed. Personal contacts with Finnish politicians have been developed to achieve the goals, including direct contacts with the Presidents of the Republic of Finland H.E. Mr. M.Ahtisaari and H.E. Ms. T.Halonen, the Prime Minister Mr. P.Lipponen, and the President of the Parliament Ms. R.Uosukainen, and their advisers. Throughout the period of my activity in Finland, the President of the Republic of Lithuania H.E. Mr. V. Adamkus, the Speaker of the Seimas Mr. V. Landsbergis, the Prime Ministers G. Vagnorius, A. Kubilius, R. Paksas and the heads of various ministries visited the country many times with official and working visits. As a result of the joint efforts of all Lithuanian institutions, in October 1999 in Helsinki, Lithuania was invited to start accession negotiations to the EU. It also includes the contribution of diplomats and employees of the Lithuanian Embassy in Finland - A. Zananavičius, J. Kaziliūnienė, J. Martinavičius, A. Jievaltas, L. Pikk-Moilanen.
On the occasion of the anniversary of diplomatic relations, I wish our people success in developing relations between our countries, strengthening Baltic-Nordic co-operation and fostering relations between the citizens of both states.